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National religious orders Conference for NZ

Some 330 men and women from religious congregations around New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific will gather in Wellington for four days next month for the country's first-ever national conference of religious orders.

Sr Josephine Caulton, secretary for the organising committee, said it was very excited about the number of responses, adding that sponsorship meant costs had been kept to a minimum, with the $A45 conference fee allowing maximum participation.

The event will begin on 20 January with a Maori welcome, followed by a keynote speaker, then a "mix-and-mingle". The keynote speaker is Fr Timothy Radcliffe, OP, former head of the Dominican order who is coming from the UK. He will speak about bearing hope in religious and vocational life.

NZ Catholic reports that the idea of getting religious from every order together in one place was first put forward by Sr Monica Landy about nine years ago, but the timing wasn't right. The conference was originally scheduled for 2003, but organisers discovered Fr Radcliffe had been double booked. Sr Josephine said the delay turned out for the best, as it gave more time for organising.

Sr Josephine said the reason for the gathering was simple: "We want to support and know each other, [there] is a new look at religious orders today."

She said younger people are becoming more interested in religious orders and it was important to look to the future with this in mind.

In Thailand meanwhile, the final Declaration of the 12th Congress of Major Superiors for the South-East Asian countries has highlighted the need to improve the quality of formation, but also that of the life in religious communities.

Vidimus Dominum reports that the three-yearly event was held recently in Bangkok, to promote exchange, update, and collaboration between Superiors of the area.

The 56 participants, from 10 countries, discussed how to make Asian Religious "more dynamic and prophetic" in their respective socio-cultural contexts and how to better contribute to peace, the promotion of the marginalized and dialog with other cultures and religions. The necessity to look at a formation that is more specific and of greater quality also emerged from the debate.

Religious to gather for first time (NZ Catholic 12/12/04)
South-East Asia: Major Superiors Relaunch Quality of Formation and Religious Communities (Vidimus Dominum 16/12/04)

Congregational Leaders Conference of Aotearoa New Zealand (CLCANZ)

Former Dominican head says celibates must own their sexuality (CathNews 28/10/04)
World Congress says religious life needs "fewer professionals, more witnesses" (CathNews 30/11/04)
Four NZ Mercy congregations agree to combine (CathNews 21/7/04)

17 Dec 2004